In northeastern France, the kouglof – a word derived from the German for Kugel (ball) and Hefe (yeast) – is indispensable at Sunday breakfasts. Like sauerkraut or tarte flambée, a gugelhupf (most commonly made with raisins) is an important Alsatian dish. It has a long tradition and requires a special baking pan.
For a gugelhupf to succeed, the dough must rise well. This also means during baking when an even distribution of heat is essential. The opening at the pan’s centre, called the chimney, allows the heat to spread uniformly throughout the gugelhupf. While traditional pans are made out of glazed clay, this 1910s example from the Alimentarium is enamelled tinplate. Less breakable, it makes it easier to turn the finished cake out of the pan when it is ready. Often adorned with different patterns (here a spiral), the gugelhupf pan can be very decorative. This is one reason why it often has a ring for hanging it on the kitchen wall.